Civil engineering associate professor Mojtaba Sadegh published an article in The Conversation about the wildfires in Hawaii on Aug. 8, titled “Maui’s deadly wildfires burn through Lahaina – it’s a reminder of the growing risk to communities that once seemed safe.”
An excerpt from the article reads:”Fires have become an increasing risk in many areas of the U.S. that people once considered safe.
Over the past two decades, a staggering 21.8 million Americans found themselves living within 3 miles (5 kilometers) of a large wildfire. Nearly 600,000 of them were directly exposed to the fire, with their homes inside the wildfire perimeter. That number – people directly exposed to wildfires – more than doubled from 2000 to 2019, my team’s recent research shows.
But while commentators often blame the rising risk on homebuilders pushing deeper into the wildland areas, we found that the population growth in these high-risk areas explained only a small part of the increase in the number of people who were exposed to wildfires.”